May is Mental Health Month: Risky Business 2017

On 05.02.17 , In Awareness On , by

May is Mental Health Month (MHM) was started 68 years ago by Mental Health America to raise awareness about mental health conditions and the importance of good mental health for everyone. This year’s theme for MHM—Risky Business—is a call to educate ourselves and others about habits and behaviors that increase the risk of developing or exacerbating mental illnesses, or could be signs of mental health problems themselves.

When you or someone you love is dealing with a mental health concern, sometimes it’s a lot to handle. It’s important to remember that mental health is essential to everyone’s overall health and well-being, and mental illnesses are common and treatable. Yet, people experience symptoms of mental illnesses differently—and some engage in potentially dangerous or risky behaviors to avoid or cover up symptoms of a potential mental health problem. Activities like compulsive sex, recreational drug use, obsessive internet use, excessive spending, or disordered exercise patterns can all be behaviors that can disrupt someone’s mental health and potentially lead them down a path towards crisis.

That is why the Mental Health Association in New Jersey, New Jersey MentalHealthCares is joining with Mental Health America to focus on the theme — Risky Business for May is Mental Health Month 2017. This topic serves as a call to educate ourselves and others about habits and behaviors that increase the risk of developing or exacerbating mental illnesses, or could be signs of mental health problems themselves. Activities like compulsive sex, recreational drug use, obsessive internet use, excessive spending, or disordered exercise patterns can all be behaviors that can disrupt someone’s mental health and potentially lead them down a path towards crisis.

“It is important to understand early symptoms of mental illness and know when certain behaviors are potentially signs of something more,” said Carolyn Beauchamp, President and CEO of the Mental Health Association in New Jersey. “We need to speak up early and educate people about risky behavior and its connection to mental illness—and do so in a compassionate, judgement-free way.”

Complimentary, Confidential Screenings Available

If you have, believe you may have, or know someone who may be suffering from mental health or substance use concerns; it can be helpful to talk about these issues with others. It can be difficult to reach out for help, but it is often the first step to recovery and wellness – and recovery is possible!

Check yourself. This step takes fewer than 5 minutes and can make a big difference. A great place to start is a mental health check-up. The Mental Health Association in New Jersey’s NJMentalHealthCares Helpline offers free, anonymous online mental health screenings in cooperation with Mental Health America. Self-assessments are available for depression, anxiety, substance abuse, PTSD and bipolar disorder, as well as screens for youth and parents. Click here to take a mental health screening. After you complete a screening, you’ll receive customized feedback and be provided a zip code search to locate local assistance in determining next steps. You may even want to print out the results and review them with your healthcare provider.

Who Cares! We Do! The NJMentalHealthCares Helpline staff is available to assist with mental health screenings. The number to call is 1-866-202-HELP (4357) (TTY 1-877-294-4356). The screening only takes a few minutes and provides confidential results and information on where to find treatment.

The Mental Health Association in New Jersey strives for mental health for children and adults through advocacy, education, training, and services.